Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mural restoration....dots before my eyes.

A friend of mine, Joan Perry, posted on her blog her picture of the faded and marred mural seen on one wall of the Sotille Theater.

It is covered with adhesive "dots" left when tiles were taken down.

Not sure why it was covered over  but, during a restoration,  this hidden treasure was revealed.

My brothers and I grew up living on the peninsula and attended movies at all of the places downtown. The Riviera, Majestic, American and Palace.

We knew this as the Gloria Theater.

Frankly, I remember the blue sky overhead in a large circle - with little white lights for stars - but I don't recall large paintings on either wall.

I was a kid and more interested in the movie playing and making trips to the lobby for popcorn, sodas and candy.

Joan did research on its history and said plans are to restore it to its former glory.

Heck, I am impatient and sat for a while applying effects from my Topaz Plug-In. It's like Photoshop.

 Here is my version of how I think it will look.

Thank you Joan for your delightful blog which inspired me to start mine 8 years ago. I did all this editing of your photo without permission from you to do so. Yikes.

Like my habit of belated fact-checking, I jumped the gun and hope you are pleased.

(Click on both to see the before and the after.)

One of the Topaz tools lets me adjust the perspective a bit, to make it appear more square.

Of course, the camera does not lie.

* wink * wink

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Fervid fans....

A recent visiting photog friend lives in Seattle. 

Well, his house is there but he works overseas. In Germany.

Frequently he has relatives come from Washington state to visit and he conducts mini-tours all around Europe.

Now I know he also stuffs his Seattle Seahawks Fan Flag in his backpack. 

Driving him around taking pictures on the Isle of Palms, he had me jam on the brakes in front of a house painted - to me - an unsettling shade of green.

Bet the neighbors love that person!

He gets back home to Seattle several times a year but happened to be in Paris when his team came from behind to set their sights on a back-to-back Super Bowl.

Just after the horrific terrorist attack there, police and nerves were on edge so he was discreet as he quietly celebrated with his team.  

In his backpack, he also carries a smaller "12th Man" banner with him.

I appreciate that kind of fan loyalty and wonder if the symbol right now for the New England Patriots is a deflated football?

That would easily fit in someone's luggage or

Speaking of avid fans, I enjoyed the three comic headliners brought in for the Theatre 99's 12th annual Charleston Comedy Festival.

The Sotille Theater was the venue for all three and gave me different experiences for each show.

Hannibal Buress came out and immediately told us that people walk up to him and say "you're that rapist guy!"

He corrects them and says "Bill Cosby is the rapist."

He had mentioned Cosby one time during a comedy bit and said the man should stop worrying about young men wearing their pants too low and, instead he should keep his pants on!

The now well-known tale of a younger Cosby allegedly doping young ladies and abusing them sexually is what prompted Buress' reference. 

A video of him saying that surfaced on You Tube and went viral.

He mentioned it several times this night at the Sotille and added people said he should "protect" Cosby's legend.

To that he responded "Well, OK, regarding his legacy, let's stop calling the date rape drug a "roofie" and start calling it a "cosby."

 The mainly young crowd seemed to like that and applauded.

Naturally, as usual, I believe I was the oldest person in the audience and perhaps had deeper appreciation of Cosby humor as a stand up comic, long before his hit tv family series.

Remember "Noah?"

Buress presented an interesting stage presence.

A DJ was set up onstage for 30 minutes before the show started, playing rap.

He remained there at the back of the huge, deep stage bringing up sound bites as part of the innovative take on different rap artists ...repeating just a few words of the tag line.

Guess you had to be there.

Two ladies came out at the end to dance around,  doing ballet-type moves and the strange mixture oddly enough all came together nicely.

The next night I saw a more "traditional" stand up comic in 32-year old SNL alum John Mulvaney.

As the link explains he worked with
Bill Hader to create the Stefon character.

He came out and looked at the wooden stool with one bottle of water on the floor and another atop the stool.

"Ah, just the way I wanted it... in case I happen to fall down during my presentation," he quipped.

The house lights were kept up as Mulvaney had us laughing so I tried to time taking a picture of him looking away.

Comedians really don't like cameras and videos.

A good routine that ends up on You Tube takes away some of the spontaneous comedic impact when performed again later in another venue.

They also don't like to have their concentration broken either.

I respect that.

The third headliner - Doug Benson - was a delight on many levels.

The audience was high on Doug and, possibly, vice versa.

He encourages his fans to tweet - during the show  - and he looks around the venue and calls out names of those who tweeted!

Then reads what they said and gives a comic ad lib reaction.


On his movie podcast, he has people compete to be the last one standing in naming movies by a particular actor.

Six fans in the know came with prepared signs and banners to be selected to go up on the stage.

 They were challenged to name the different movies starring  DenzelWashington. Wow, there were a lot and they did well.

Eventually a single guy holding an ALF doll was the winner of a red sack filed with weird gifts.

Throughout the show Benson was enamored of the logo and name "Kickin' Chicken" that was on the cup he carried and sipped from.

He asked the audience to shout out alternate names for the local eatery and decided he liked Rockin' Rooster.

Did I mention all of his humor was marijuana related?

The Sotille is a non-smoking venue.

Of anything.

But he suggested some entrepreneurs go out and start a restaurant named after the rooster.

Maybe he was getting the munchies?

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Monday, January 12, 2015

"Hey, weight a minnit..."

Joe Weider, the man behind the famed body-builder
Arnold Schwarzenegger, now has turned his attention to me and my body.

Believe me, I need all the help I can get!

Well, Mr. Weider is not giving me a hand personally.

I just bought a used home weight system with his name on it and I have high hopes.

Yes, it's only early January in 2015 but already such exercise equipment is on sale. Found this on Craigslist.

I noticed it was dusty.

In a few more weeks I suppose the crowds will be smaller at gyms and fitness centers as reality overpowers even the most sincere best intended New Year's resolutions.

 This 200-pound machine was purchased at Sears and delivered in a large box on a big truck to its new owner three months ago.

I searched last week for one like this - or similar - and Craigslist popped up with this winner.

I called because the price was lower than at the stores. Did he still have it for sale?

Yes he did and I drove over - using my Smartphone's GPS  to navigate -  and pulled up in his driveway.

About a month ago, he had removed the Weider 6900 from the box and carefully assembled it in his garage.

I did not ask why, after only a month, he had decided he didn't need it. Who knows, maybe a month from now, I too might offer it up for sale?

Fortunately, I have plenty of room for exercise equipment.

My dad, a carpenter and cabinetmaker, had built his 50' x 20' workshop after they moved from the peninsula (Ansonborough) to Hanahan in 1962.

I call this my "Charleston Basement"  because of all the space I have downstairs.

And to watch eyebrows raise to envision anyone having a basement in our below-sea-level-Lowcountry.

After my dad had passed away, I found Lowe's would sell "mistake-mixed" paints very cheaply so I brightened up the spacious but dull workshop with bright colors.

 I had toyed with the idea of moving up to a full weight bench with metal plates and barbells.

Did not like the idea of trying to press heavy weights without a "spotter" to insure I did not have a mishap while alone and be in trouble.

(I had a boat for years and did not go out alone. Less boating but more shared good times with others on board.)

Instead, I liked the idea of ten weights (12.5 pounds each) which could be combined and moved with pulleys and cables to provide varied resistance as I worked on different parts of my body.

I quickly learned that you balance the number of rep(ititions)
 you do versus the weights involved.

Different results if you lifted heavier loads fewer times or more times with  less weights.

This came with a nice chart showing about 36 different ways to tone specific muscles.

And suggested regimens to set and meet specific body building goals.

I am so glad the previous owner had patiently - and correctly - put all of these parts together.

It works smoothly and I am experimenting with using a different number of heavy plates.

After only 3 days of working out ways to work out, I feel this is working out well.

The "basement," over the years, has seen several treadmills come and go. The last two came from Play It Again, Sports

When one burned out (the mother board started smoking!) the guys helped me choose my current Horizon model.

They do this a lot and made moving in the new and hauling out the old a simple procedure.

I just walk (fast) instead of jogging or running on my treadmill and that takes 30 minutes of my 5x a week exercising.

I did the annual Bridge Run for 13 years - walking rather than running.

Did my first run, er, walk, the last year the 2-lane John P. Grace was used; many years on the 3-lane Pearman,  and did my final walk on the 8-lane Ravenel.

So, until the city builds a new bridge across the Cooper River, I guess that's it for me.

But my walking continues.

The treadmill faces a small tv set, and, using my ROKU, I can stream Netflix movies and series onto the screen and be entertained.

It makes the half-hour walk more interesting.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

As noted earlier, this is my 800th posting on my 8-year old blog.

I started Web Logging a few years after I retired from The Post and Courier, my 200+ years old local newspaper.

I've written about a diet I started early last summer so this new phase of exercise equipment continues that weight-loss effort.

Yes, I am using weights to lose weight.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Interesting weather....

A few days ago I hosted an out-of-town photographer friend and we rallied through a rainy, foggy weekend.

Got sort of damp but never really soaked. We deftly stepped inside the Sand Dollar Social Club on Folly Beach as a cell of tremendous rain slowly passed, dumping torrents of water down from the sky.

My white Saturn was parked at the curb and, as I watched, the gutter filled, then overflowed toward the front door.

Inside, bar regulars were recounting the many time such a storm had hit at high tide and a barrier had to be put in place to keep out the watery invader.

This was happening at low tide and fortunately, quickly subsided.

It was too wet for a chance to hike out past the washout surfing part of the beach to the end of the island.

Wanted to have my friend try some shots of the iconic lighthouse, sitting out from shore on the "missing" Morris Island.

Back in the 1930s, my folks had rowed out there and the lighthouse keeper gave them a tour and a walk around the grounds - when there still was property - and of his house.

 But, while the weather kept changing, there was no rain at White Point Gardens.

Here he got to share our splendid views of the many oak trees.

Did not get to show him Angel Oak but we toured the historic Market area and saw many souvenir paintings and photos of that huge, rugged 1,500 year old woody survivor.

Throughout the weekend, we dodged rain, endured fog and low clouds and spent a lot of time indoors.

I wanted him to be dazzled as the sunlight made the cables on the Ravenel Bridge give the appearance of full sails in the harbor.

That is what the designers planned and we certainly have seen that effect on bright, shiny days.

Instead, he snapped this shot while I kept my eyes on the road.

This was taken with his iPhone camera.

Then, as I drove, he fiddled with built-in processing controls and created this high-contrast "sketch."

I like the raindrops on the windshield.

I wish he had been in town a few days earlier.

A bright moon in the afternoon sky was a bit unusual for me to capture on New Year's Eve..

Different from the usual night view, seen against a coal black sky.

The tree branches in the foreground were a bonus too,  not usually seen in a night photo.

It also was clear.

No rain nor fog.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Keep in mind, I did NOT take the photo on the Ravenel.  Both of my hands were on the wheel, eyes watching the road and traffic.

We are polite and want our visitors to be safe.

*This is my 799th posting on my 8-year old blog. Hmm, works out to about 100 per year.
My tracking program show viewers in all 50 states, two U.S. Territories (Guam and Puerto Rico), and 167 foreign countries.

Hope something neat and worthwhile happens for my 800th one!

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Charleston - a Port City!

Carnival Fantasy cruise ship is a weekly visitor in and out of Charleston.

I've been to Miami and have seen a long, long line of such ships tied up at piers.

So far, we have only one on a regular basis.

There has been talk about problems with boarding and dropping off thousands of passengers here in the heart of the Historic District.

The plan to build such a terminal
further away has been delayed.

For several years. So far.

So, for the near futire, these 13-story "buildings" will continue to appear weekly at the foot of Market Street, looming over us.

To me, it's not a bad visitor attraction to have featured in a famed harbor.

Musicians and other buskers have found it's a pleasant place to perch, perform and play.

A spirited banjo seems to be an appropriate sound, wafting out over the waterfront.

I had a visiting fellow photograher from Germany with me this weekend down at Waterfront Park and he enjoyed looking up at the massive vessel.

He also had not heard that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. I mentioned this tidbit to him as he angled for views of our pineapple fountain.

I steered him over to a slight rise that afforded a good view of the TWO fountains in our park by the harbor.

It was a little cool so we did not see visitors - children and adults - wading in either the pineapple fountain nor the splash one in the background.

Even locals  have been known to cool off this way on a humid day.

My photographer buddy liked the shot he took of a sign in the foreground of the fountains which warns there is no lifeguard on duty.

I have always suspected that signage was inspired by cautious city lawyers.

I doubt the lawyers were consulted when the Mayor-for-40-years Joe Riley decided we needed swinging park benches.

Harbor views all around, grassy areas for a picnic, nearby parking, a beautiful setting and the challenge to see just how high you can make your swing go.

Wise parents shepherded their small ones away from the high flying potental mayhem.

Later in the day, I drove my visitor over to Sullivan's Island to a spot on the beach in front of Fort Moultrie.

I noted there had been a lot of erosion since my last time there.

Huge rocks of course stayed in place but lots of soil and grasses were gone.

Through low clouds and a foggy haze, I spotted a large cruiseship steaming its way out of the harbor, bound - I believe - for the Caribbean.

Of course it was the ship we had seen earliuer, downtown. Now I realize they had been boarding passengers for this Saturday afternoon departure.

Bon voyage!

(Click on the photos for more details.)

My only cruise ship experience was in the Marines for 7-days aboard a crowded troop carrier that swayed from side to side.

I didn't exactly have a cabin.

There were rows of bunks stacked four high.

I spent a lot of time up on the deck.

Near the railing.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Uh oh, your Visa card was denied."

Look at that face. Awww.

Rhett, the black lab, is a constant ally to Kay Hastings, owner of the CPU (Contract Postal Unit) in a mall in North Chas.

She and her husband own two such off-site centers. The other one is in West Ashley, 1124 Sam Rittenberg Boulevard at Orange Grove Road.

Rhett seems genuinely sad that the transaction did not go through.

Stamp him disappointed.

As the link explains, the US Post Office tries to save money - and better serve the public - with "Mom & Pop" stores in such sites as CVS , Wal-Mart and in small malls.

These are not staffed by USPS employees and the service is limited basically to weighing and shipping boxes and selling stamps.
 I found this 3-year old store by accident.

Walked into the North Charleston post office and saw about 20 people in line and took out my Smartphone to have Google direct me to the nearest postal facility.

It showed one less than 2 miles away. Huh?

I have stood in line in this Rivers Avenue P.O. many times in the past, often just to hand over a paperback book to mail to a member of my book swap club.

Needless to say, I now stop here first to mail and buy stamps. It's in North Pointe Plaza, 7400 Rivers Avenue, by the Wal-Mart off Ashley Phosphate.

Kay told me the dog is well known and loved.

She pointed out several "doggy" holiday cards that had been mailed to him.

Other articles I've read say the CPU is not always successful. Many close because they just don't do enough business to earn a good income.

Apparently Kay found a way to increase walk-in traffic - and sales - by also operating a Liberty Tax Service office in both locations.

It was explained to me that such a tax service is not limited to the 3-month "tax season."

People come in all year long to get extensions and advice, not just to file a return before April 15.

And, if they need stamps, boxes for mailings, they are available right there.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

I have friends who have a birthday close enough to Christmas that cards are produced featuring Santa and the Stork side-by-side.

Guess I'll keep an eye out for a doggy card.
Rhett will give it his stamp of approval.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Smiling faces at the pump!

Wish I could make this picture even bigger!

I can remember back to the early 1980s when gas prices went over a dollar a gallon.

Driving a state car as Tourism Director for the state of Missouri, one of my first projects was to devise a way to tell people where gas was available.

Not only was it becoming expensive, it also was scarce.

We developed a Hotline visitors (and residents) could call for updated details on prices and where to find stations with gasoline to sell.

It was a challenging period.

Filling the tank of my 2006 Saturn Ion today for less than $15 was a pleasant memory revisited too.

You won't see that price per gallon on signs at stations. The actual cost was $1.98 but my Bi-Lo grocery discount program had grown to a 60 cents per gallon discount.

I heart Bi-Lo.

Nice grocery shopping plan: you have to eat and your gas tank needs to be filled.

A win-win situation.

(Click on the photos for more details and to make the pump charge appear even larger!)

I said $1.379 was not the price being charged at the station...but who knows?

Wouldn't it be great to see a gallon of gas at less than a dollar again?


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Friday, December 26, 2014

Fresh fish Yes .....but no waffles.

 Well, I try to get around and keep an eye on new things that pop up.

Case in point: I have driven by this corner location for about 14 years. It's on Remount Road in North Charleston, on the edge of Hanahan.

For most of that time it was a paint & body shop.

Then that closed. For a long, long time.

Saw some workers there recently and some equipment being hauled inside.

Ta-Da.  Fulford Fish is now open for business.

Fresh seafood in one door and take-away plates and sandwiches in the other.

Spoke with A.J. Fulford, the owner (he also had the auto repair business there) and he suggested I try the very, very fresh scallops.

Or the local shrimp.
Or oysters.
Crab legs too.
Big ones.

Did I mention the Blue Claw Crabs?

When I'm out dining, I usually ask if the shrimp are "local" and I've heard various answers.

I like YES, they are! None of that "Well, sure.....from the Gulf."

Apparently I have not been paying close attention when I'm driving on Savannah Highway/

How could I have missed Boxcar Betty's.

As their site says, they offer high end chicken sandwiches. Check out the menu.

I was embarrassed to find they've been open about 8 months. In my defense, I have been on a diet that is not too excited about "fried."

Close by is Early Bird Diner where I had my first chicken & waffles.

So I asked and the young lady at the register pointed to the large menu printed on a wall.

Looks like they had sized up the competition and were staying with their target of high-end fried chickens on an array of sandwiches.

Don't think they would make me one with grilled chicken.

I also have had chicken & waffles at Rarebit on upper King Street. (Pre-diet).

And at Bay Street Biergarten.

Hmm. You'd think you could get that interesting combo at Waffle House or Huddle House?

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Before I started the diet, I was getting into craft beers.

Plenty of THAT going on around here. And, of course, my heritage of fried, fried, fried.

Well I like the weight loss and being able to keep it off.

Mmmm. A golden waffle, melted butter and syrup.

I miss fried.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

One "UK" evening followed by The Blues...

Went to the the UK* the other night to perhaps have myself a Moscow Mule in it's distinctive copper cup.

Well, actually, I intended to introduce a friend to the signature drink served at The Rarebit.

He and I passed on the cool copper cup cocktail caper and focused more on their quirky menu. Take a look.

Note that the full menu is served only from 1pm to 10pm but the breakfast fare can be ordered from 10am until 1 am. Cool.

I had the country fried steak, with mashed potatoes and crisp green beans.

In conversation I referred to the area with all the expanding places along upper King Street as the UK. My friend liked that. "Don't believe I've seen that used before," he said, so maybe I coined it. In print.  On this blog.

The next night - Friday - I headed to Home Team BBQ in West Ashley. Back in the U.S.A.

I was eager to listen again to a Blues master, Steve Cheseborough, in from Oregon.

Had enjoyed his playing and authoritative banter about a year ago when he was a one-man show at Home Team.

Still dazzling with his knowledge of the major guitar players from the 1920s - 1930s, someone in the audience asked if he would play something by Taj Mahal.

Steve answered "I don't really know any of his songs but we both base our music on the same old timers...lemme see now..."

And he played a perfect Taj song, with credit to the original artist, Henry Thomas, 1874 - 1930, a Texas Blues pioneer. Yikes.

I recognized Fishin' Blues immediately from Taj's albums and live shows I had attended.

I wish I had jotted down some of the other songs Steve played and who he credited with creating them.

He honored quite an array of early Blues artists by presenting their authentic 20s and 30s sound.

He said his heavy, all-metal shiny National guitar was a challenge flying here. It was safely nestled above him in the overhead bin.

That meant it was part of his carry-on luggage and I have to wonder about the reaction from TSA at the airport as he presented his ID and boarding pass.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The night before, while roaming around a few blocks of UK*, I bumped into Lee Barbour, another talented guitar player I admire and follow.

For example I know he is quite a ping pong player and not too surprised to meet him coming out of HoM.

If you don't know, they have two professional ping pong tables in the back.

Quite a change from all the pool tables usually seen up and down the street.

I asked how he fared in a recent tournament and he said he was pleased to have placed well in his talent level.

I've seen videos of him practicing and while playing in tournaments in New York. 

He asked if I played and I grinned and said I had bounced the ball a few times ..when I was in high school. 

That was long before Lee was born.

Now, even when I'm at Shem Creek or Goose Creek, I get along without a paddle.


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A "Warning" Sign...if you're on a diet.

It was a bright red, glowing beacon.

A warm spot with delicious aromas.

My eyes almost glazed.

I had read the light had been turned off for about four days for remodeling and I am sure the recognized symbol was sorely missed.

But, tonight it was alight again and tranquility along Savannah Highway
was restored.

Yes, the symbol of hot stuff at Krispy Kreme was shining again.

I had read that the place had closed for less than a week to do a major facelift, brightening and new tables and chairs.

Passing by, I was curious to see how it looked now.

As some know, I have been successfully dieting for several months and have dropped my weight from 206 down to 182-183.

Needless to say I have NOT been hanging out at a doughnut shop.

But this was "research" so I grabbed my camera and pushed through the glass doors to see what had changed.

First I noticed a Starbucks look with comfy chairs and a couch forming a small conversation area.

Lots of new tile work was evident and the close-up viewing area near the assembly line of tasty treats now had a solid wall keeping curious kids' fingers and hands  away from moving parts. Good idea!

It sure looked bright and clean.

The new tables  - some short, some high - had an inviting look.

"Get some doughnuts, a cup of coffee and settle back for a nice break," the room seemed to say.

Admittedly, I came in during a lull.

Three people arrived just before I did and they were talking about the changes.

We all seemed to agree it was bright and cheerful.

The difference was they were ordering several dozens of the glazed and some chocolates ones.

If you are going to get doughnuts at the "factory" where they are made, you ask that they be plucked right off the line, still delightfully warm.

Otherwise, you could pick up a box or so at a nearby grocery store.

Years and years ago, before Krispy Kreme was available on the West Coast, I had sent a wrapped dozen to my daughter as a present for her graduation.

From the California Police Academy.

She passed them around to fellow new officers and everyone enjoyed being part of a law enforcement cliche.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

No, I did NOT eat a doughnut.


Just took some pictures, jotted down some notes, climbed back in my car and drove home.

This morning my scale read 181 pounds.


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